Ending Rape Culture blog post

Ending Rape Culture: In Schools and Beyond

Trigger warning: rape, abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, suicide, violent abuse, paedophilia, child abuse.

On 10 June 2021, a shocking Ofsted report emerged stating that some girls can be contacted by up to 11 boys a night asking for nude images. The report goes on to explain that many boys go on to create multiple accounts to harass women when they are initially blocked. Nine in ten girls also either experience sexist name calling, or are sent explicit photos/videos. The scary part of all of this is thinking about just how much goes unreported.

The stats are shocking, but we simply cannot reduce them to mere numbers. We only have to read the harrowing Survivor Testimonies on the Everyone’s Invited website to see that this isn’t just a case of the occasional bad apple here and there. The Everyone’s Invited campaign has also published the names of all schools mentioned in these testimonies. The list is depressingly long, spanning 58 pages of three columns - the font size isn’t exactly large either. There is also another list containing universities where the same issues have arisen - again, the list is far too long.

Though I was initially shocked to see my own school on the list, that shock passed quite quickly. In fact, it made me think back and ponder moments where the line between banter and harassment were crossed among peers. On a personal level, I very much regret not doing more to call out those in the wrong at the time. Being young and less mature should no longer be an excuse for those in the wrong. Notions of consent and boundaries must be a part of one’s development at the earliest stage possible.

That said, there is no way that teachers can do this alone. Parental responsibility must play a part too. Though it seems obvious to point out, collaboration between parents and teachers is crucial in helping children develop a moral understanding as to how men and boys must treat women and girls with the same respect that they expect in return. One thing we can do is encourage children to talk, as well as tell others when their behaviour or conduct is unacceptable.

It might be controversial to some for Everyone’s Invited to have published the schools in question, but hopefully it encourages something more proactive in ending rape culture. Of course the onus should be on creating an environment where girls and young women feel safe, or confident enough to tell someone when something isn’t right.

As the Everyone’s Invited campaign points out on their website: ‘When behaviours such as these are normalised this can act as a gateway to more extreme acts such as sexual assault and rape.’ The more we dismiss these things as ‘a bit of banter’, the longer the problem of rape culture is going to linger for present and future generations. If it’s at the expense of a young woman’s safety, wellbeing, confidence or mental health, then it should be avoided. As Everyone’s Invited goes on to say; ‘This is not just a school issue, it’s a cultural one.’

The earlier we deal with difficult conversations such as those on the incidence of sexism and mistreatment of women, the better. The 1decision philosophy hinges on prevention rather than a cure, and whilst we do not explicitly discuss the topic of rape, we look to educate on concepts like consent and boundaries in their simplest form, at the earliest possible stage.

1decision looks to help in eradicating these issues through our immersive and interactive curriculum. Our curriculums are tailored toward Early Years pupils (ages 3-5) and Primary School pupils (ages 5-8 and ages 8-11), dealing with a variety of PSHE related issues. Our aim is simple: to break down barriers and help the next generation thrive. You can visit our website for more information on the curriculum here.

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